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Building bridges between communities

Cultural Shows

The India Harmony Foundation has sponsored & produced a cultural show as its curtain raiser. An enormous effort has gone into preparing something unique for pan – Indian audiences. It has been conceptualized and directed by Mrs. Kulsoomnoor Saifullah (writer, publisher & entrepreneur). The music and script has been provided by Mrs. Zakia Zaheer (Urdu scholar & theater artiste). The choreography has been done by Smt. Shovana Narayan (noted Kathak exponent). According to the Trustees, “through this show we want to revive the memories of a fading culture and influence the citizens of India to once again come together and bring about the same spirit of harmony that was prevalent in Purani Dilli”.

Culture is the greatest tool in building bridges and promoting understanding between communities
says Zafar Saifullah, former Cabinet Secretary, Government of India and Founder President of The India Harmony Foundation. The message behind the Purani Dilli show is that ‘Indians, deep in their hearts, earn for the old days of social harmony’.

The Purani Dilli Show celebrates an era when culture and harmony was at its peak – the time of the last Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar. The forty years of his rule saw the meeting of diverse cultures and tradtions in India. By the time Bahadur Shah Zafar came to the throne, most of the territorial empire of the Mughals was gone. Ruling from the ramparts of the Red Fort of Delhi, he presided over a more important conquest – the minds and hearts of the people of Hindustan. Through his patronage of literature, poetry, music and art, accompanied by total fairness and justice in his administration, he brought in the flowering of an unparalleled culture and sense of unity among its people.

More than any other Ruler, he understood the role of culture in promoting universal harmony. This philosopher – king left behind an enormous body of work encompassing the entire spectrum of human emotions ranging from romance to philosophy to pathos. Not only was he a distinguished poet in his own right but he also promoted a court that comprised of the greatest galaxy of poets which, perhaps, the world has known. Zauq, Mir, Dagh, Momin and, of course, the redoubtable Ghalib, were among them.

All forms of art and architecture were encouraged and they blossomed to give his realm and the City of Dilli, in particular, an unrivaled panorama of the highest attainments of the human spirit. The grace, courtesy, manners, music and food of that era live on in the minds and hearts of succeeding generations of, not just Dilliwalas, but of all Indians belonging to diverse faiths and regions. However, the Mutiny and, later, the partition of India could not revive the bonhomie, the tolerance and the resonating culture of music, dance and poetry of that refined period of Delhi’s history.

In the last few months since its inception, IHF has organized six major shows, that showcase the rich multicultural, multi-ethnic and multilingual fabric of India. In July, we held the The Chishti Harmony Awards 2011. Last year The Chishti Harmony Awards 2010 which we have instituted were presented to Shri Siddharth Vardarajan, Resident Editor of ‘The Hindu’ and Pandit Ghulam Dastagir, an Urdu, Marathi and Sanskrit scholar for his work of translating the Holy Quran to Sanskrit. At all these events held in Delhi & Mumbai, eminent guests from the diplomatic corps, the professions, the political establishment, the civil services, the film industry, corporate heads & other top executives from the corporate world greatly applauded these initiatives and pledged support to the Foundation.